Democracy Now! Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Producer Democracy Now!Audio/Visual sound, color
Do You Know the Full Story Behind the Infamous McDonald’s Coffee Case and How Corporations Used it to Promote Tort Reform?
Stella Liebeck made national headlines in 1992 when she sued McDonald’s after spilling a scalding cup of hot coffee on her lap. The lawsuit had the whole country talking. But what most people do not know is that Liebeck suffered third-degree burns over 16 percent of her body and never fully recovered. And most people do not know that corporations have spent millions of dollars distorting her story to promote tort reform. Liebeck’s case is featured in the documentary Hot Coffee, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Monday.
"Hot Coffee" Film Explores How Corporations Are Spending Millions and Spinning the Story to Alter Our Nation’s Civil Justice System
Hot Coffee, a new documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, looks at the stories of four people whose lives were devastated when they were denied access to the courtroom after being injured. The film documents how corporations have spent millions to promote the case for tort reform.
"Hot Coffee" Documents Chamber of Commerce Campaign to Unseat Judges Opposed to "Tort Reform"
The documentary Hot Coffee tells the story of former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz. Despite fierce opposition from big business, Diaz won re-election to the bench. Hot Coffee reveals how Diaz was then criminally prosecuted on false charges to taint his reputation. He was forced off the bench for three years to fight the charges and was acquitted.
"Hot Coffee" Exposes How Hard Caps on Malpractice Awards Shift Burden to Taxpayers
In our final segment featuring the explosive new documentary Hot Coffee, we speak with a family featured in the film. Lisa and Mike Gourley are the parents of twin sons Colin and Connor. Colin was born with cerebral palsy because of medical malpractice during childbirth. A Nebraska jury awarded Colin $5.6 million to cover his medical expenses. But a state-mandated cap reduced his award by 80 percent, to $1.2 million. We speak with the family about how taxpayers are now responsible for paying for Colin’s expensive healthcare costs and how mandated caps in malpractice lawsuits relieve the wrongdoer of responsibility for the damage they cause.